Project Management - Customer Service Skills

The customer service industry is one that is often misunderstood by those in other professions. Not much is known about the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in these types of roles, which is why so few professionals realize why expanding the types of training they receive could greatly improve their efficiency in their job role. Enrolling in a customer service course online is one of the best ways for you to benefit your career and acquire skills that you might not be able to pick up elsewhere in your industry. Customer service skills are almost universal and relevant to any job role. This type of training teaches you how to manage people and problems effectively and efficiently as well as how to apply yourself to deliver excellent results. There are many useful customer service skills that project managers in particular can utilize in future projects.

Clear Communication and point of contact

Paired with accurate listening, clear communication is one of the most important skills that customer service could teach you that is valuable in almost any role. Customer service training teaches you how to be an effective point of contact between the company and the customer, delivering to them the information they need quickly and in a way that doesn’t allow room for misunderstanding. This encompasses all channels of communication, which includes phone, e-mail and social media.

In project management, you must be able to clearly communicate with your team as well as superiors and clients to ensure that everyone has the information they need to maintain a certain level of progress. Without this communication, a project can easily fall apart and a few misunderstandings or a lack of information can compromise any potential progress. If a job is done incorrectly, you and your team run the risk of paying in dearly – either with time or money – to fix it and get a project on track. The last thing you want is to play the ‘blame game’ when the only real problem was a lack of communication.

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With customer service level of communication skills, a project manager can take responsibility of being the single point of contact, avoiding having to defer people in need of information to other departments or members of staff. With this kind of responsibility, you can build a strong relationship with your client and team to ensure there is no lack of communication or miscommunication. Instead of people rushing around to find the right person to talk to and possibly getting wrong information, they can come straight to you and you will be able to effectively and accurately deliver to them any information they might need.

Issue Management

Also referred to as risk management, issue management is the skill of being able to quickly and efficiently find effective solutions to resolve issues and implement them. In terms of customer service, this skill is necessary for dealing with customer complaints or requests as well as resolving and minimizing the damages of breakdowns within the production process and is one of the most first things to be taught in customer service training.

Issue management is equally as important in a project management role. When circumstances change or a project meets a challenge – for example, if you are dealing with a noise complaint or a client who is asking you to breach planning permission – project managers and their team need to generate and implement effective solutions in a timely manner. This requires fast thinking, people skills and a good sense of initiative, all of which are skills acquired through customer service training. You need to quickly resolve the issue to keep the project on track otherwise serious delays may result in the project surpassing the deadline.

Understand customer/client needs

When you are absorbed in a project, focusing mostly on the work being done and the end product, you can sometimes forget that there are people that expect to benefit from the outcome. This can often be the case in the construction industry. What a team sees when they get on site is bricks and mortar that need putting together, but what your client sees is a school, a business, or a home that needs building. When project managers forget about the people who commissioned the project, you can turn out results that aren’t quite what they were expected to be. An example of this might be building an extension in a residential property and making the entrance too narrow to accommodate a member in the family that is in a wheelchair.

Conclusion

In the customer service profession, the customer and their needs are always at the forefront of your mind: you don’t make a decision without first thinking what the consequences might be for the customer. Not only that, many customer service training courses require you to analyse why it is important to put the customer first, which offers project managers a great sense of perspective when it comes to ensuring that the client’s/customer’s requirements are met through their management of the project. With this type of training, you won’t need to overanalyse your decisions. Your project management skills combined with your customer service skills will allow you to quickly make choices that will benefit the project as well as the client.